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Town receives ‘age-friendly community’ certificate during Town Council meeting

By Staff | Dec 19, 2018

Shepherdstown Accessibility Advocacy Committee representative Linda Spatig, left, hands Mayor Jim Auxer a certificate from the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, certifying Shepherdstown's designation as an age-friendly town until Sept. 24, 2020. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN – During the Shepherdstown Town Council’s monthly meeting on Dec. 11, the Town Council discussed positive updates within the Corporation of Shepherdstown.

Mayor Jim Auxer announced the lights along the James Rumsey Bridge, which are the same as those used on the Shepherd University campus, have been erected.

“Dozens and dozens of phone calls have resulted in the lights being put up on the bridge. I think they look pretty good – I’m pleased something finally came to fruition after five years of planning,” Auxer said, mentioning the West Virginia Department of Highways finished the job on the last day of the town’s contract with the department. “They put the lights up the day-of, but it’s finally done, and they look good.”

According to Town Recorder Lori Robertson, without Auxer’s persistence, the contract would have never been fulfilled on time.

“I just want to officially thank the mayor for being so persistent and making this happen,” Robertson said. “The lights look wonderful.”

The meeting then proceeded to discuss the success of the Corporation of Shepherdstown’s glass recycling program.

“Eight-point-seven tons of glass were taken for recycling from a couple months – 8.7 tons of glass were kept out of the landfill. Since we started this program, we have kept about 20 tons of glass out of the landfill so far,” Auxer said, mentioning that with the holidays intersecting with the town’s glass collection day, the last Tuesday of the month, the collection day will be changed.

The Town Council asked town residents to be conscientious when glass recycling, and to only put glass in the glass recycling bins. The bins should not contain jar lids, candle glass, plastic bags or cardboard.

For those who will be drinking wine during the holidays, Shepherdstown Visitors Center Director Marianne Davis asked for them to remember to save the natural cork from their bottles, and recycle them at the visitor’s center.

The meeting was not only a time of celebration over the bridge lights, but also of another town development. Corporation of Shepherdstown Advocacy Accessibility Committee representative Linda Spatig presented a certificate from the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities to Auxer, certifying Shepherdstown’s designation as an age-friendly town until Sept. 24, 2020.

“Last month, I represented Shepherdstown at the Sixth Annual AARP Livable Communities National Conference. I’m excited about this, and I wanted to present this to the mayor and Town Council tonight,” Spatig said, mentioning the town is now one of two in West Virginia with the designation, the first town being Charleston.

The certificate recognizes Shepherdstown is committed to improving its accessibility for everyone, of all ages, from all stages of life. Although the certificate is only good for two years, if the town follows through with its plans for development, the certificate will be renewed. And, according to Spatig, while the changes may take time and effort, Shepherdstown will soon be matched with another town that has been recognized as age-friendly for a longer period of time, to give guidance to the town.

“Our next steps for the next two years are to form an advisory committee and survey the community for needs. Based on that data, we will come up with our action plan,” Spatig said, mentioning Shepherdstown may also receive grants through the conference, to fund its progress.